Quilting, Farming, Variety

Monday, April 9, 2012

Standing the Test of Time

Forty four years ago we moved onto our own land, ten acres, with plans to build a new house. The Farmer was just finishing work on his doctorate at the university, and after feeling more or less as a stranger in the big city, I felt happy to be in the country again. We rented a trailer to live in while the house was being built, and had it put in the shade of this mulberry tree.

The month was May, and the berries were at their peak of ripeness, falling and covering the ground underneath. We set up a swing set for our three little girls who now could run and play without the confinement of a fenced back yard, and their beautiful childish voices echoed across the land as they sang "Jesus loves me, this I know; for the Bible tells me so." And every night their little feet and the seats of their panties were stained purple from the mulberries.
I have no way of knowing how long the tree had been here before we bought the land, but it's weathered many storms; perhaps the three trunks give support to one another. It is just outside the yard fence and the cattle take shade underneath its branches in the summer, wearing away the dirt from the roots on that side of the fence.

The dead limbs are signs that the old tree is under stress; most of the time, before I mow the yard, there are several sticks to pick up.

But the roots inside the fence must be providing moisture for the tree, because once again, the limbs are full of green berries, and when they get ripe there will be a mass feeding for the birds, raccoons and terrapins, not to mention the flies who come to drink in the intoxication of the souring berries.
I guess old-timers used the berries for making jelly, but I don't particularly like the taste of them.
I wonder how long a mulberry tree can stand the test of time. Do you like mulberries or do you have a tree on your property?

[This was originally posted in 2012; watch for an update tomorrow]


  1. we had a mulberry tree for about 20 years, it wasn't looking too good though for the last couple of years and had grown so twisted and out of shape that we decided to cut it down- it was shading the dogwood tree too much that had been planted too close to it to begin with - we liked the dogwood better so wanted to keep that one instead.

  2. I am not sure I have ever seen a mulberry tree. Surely I have. I love your stories. You tell them so well.
    It looks like you live in beautiful setting.

  3. Love this post! We had a mulberry tree but the storm that came through a year ago damaged it and we had to cut it. My husband and the grands loved the berries; I never liked them.

  4. This is so beautifully written Charlotte. We had some ancient oaks at our old house that were so precious to me. They sometimes looked as though they couldn't possibly make it through the storms and winds that bent their branches, but somehow their roots held firm.
    There are old oaks here at the new house too. I just love them.
    Thank you for sharing this. It was wonderful.

  5. We have a mulberry tree right on the fence of our front yard. My children have spent many a happy day sitting in the tree eating mulberries or on the ground picking them up. They always have high hopes that I'll make them a mulberry pie, and I am quite willing to do so, but alas, they can never get very many mulberries into the container as they eat them. Sometimes the blue jays will swoop around them and they love that.

  6. Such a sweet story...thanks for sharing this with us. I have never eaten mulberries but it would be nice to have such a beautiful tree in my yard. Thanks for stopping by at Nothin But Country Living and leaving your sweet comment.

  7. What a gorgeous old tree, and I loved reading your memories of it.

  8. I don't remember for sure, but I think my grandmother had a mulberry tree in her back yard, Charlotte... we were told not to play around it but I think it might have been because there was poison ivy all around or something.
    I've never tried mulberry jelly before~ maybe because we just don't have them around here much.
    That was a cute story about your girls having their feet and panties stained from playing in the berries!

  9. I am not sure how long a mulberry tree can live, but they are just beautiful!

  10. Your post almost made me cry. :( I remember putting mud into a little pan to make a pie crust and filling it with smashed mulberries...our Barbies were so lucky!

  11. Love the tree-and the memories of your family its seen : ) I have never tasted a mulberry-but would like too : )

  12. What a wonderful story about the mulberry tree. It's still a lovely old tree and I'm sure your children had a lot of fun playing under it. Lovely photos.